Author Archives: Louise Clarke

Slammed By Expectations

I vividly remember the day I realized that my expectations were slamming me. For a while, I continued trying to justify their existence with a whole load of buts…. but…. But… BUT only to realize that it was all a feeble attempt to prove myself right. Surely it’s okay to expect? But if I don’t expect, then what? On the odd occasion where my expectations were met, I felt so good. I felt so right! That then brought me to see the irony in the word “right” – says who? Says me? Oh, now I am right? How pious and righteous I was. I expected my husband to be just like me; organized, punctual, interested in all the things I was… I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t organized, punctual, interested in all the things I was and judged him because of it. I expected my kids to be like me; why did they forget so much? I didn’t forget that much when I was their age… It was when my kids started going to school that I began to realize that I had high expectations. “I expect you to tidy your room.” I’d say to my daughter. “Why?” she asked. …Read more →

Do You Think You Might Be Addicted To Your Phone?

Have you noticed that as soon as there is a question in casual conversation today, something like: I wonder what the weather is doing tomorrow? Does anyone know what happened in the hockey last night? Oh, what’s the name of the singer in Coldplay, the one who…. What is a philatelist Dad? … that someone will immediately pull out their phone or call Google or Siri to come up with the answer. Not so long ago the conversation would have gravitated to discussing the question and perhaps even coming up with an answer. Well, maybe not for the weather but for many other things! But today, we just can’t wait. We want the answer NOW. And it’s denying children to develop the capacity to delay gratification and tolerate frustration. The person who gets their phone out to find the answer inevitably ends up quickly checking on something else and before you know it, everyone else has their phone out too! But it’s more than this. It’s a complete conversation stopper. And it’s denying children the capacity to develop the skills to hold a conversation in the real world. After everyone has paused to listen to what Google or Siri have …Read more →

The Ultimate Parenting Upgrade

Do you feel your parenting could do with an upgrade? You upgrade your phone so why not upgrade your parenting! I know that there are many parents out there today struggling, and I honestly believe many of them, unnecessarily. If you are here, you might be one of them? Are you tired of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed? Negotiating, arguing, nagging and cajoling? Kids on their devices All.The.Time? Kiddos not listening? Going to bed too late? Rushing around All.The.Time? Tired. Tired. Tired. It breaks my heart to see the negative effect that this is having on children today. I hear of children who are still being punished and not thriving while their parents continue to repeat what is not working because they do not know that there is another way. I hear of children who are lying and being manipulative, children struggling to be heard, who are under incredible pressure to achieve, be successful and happy yet simply don’t know how to behave. And we wonder why the rates of childhood anxiety and depression are at an all-time high! It doesn’t have to be this way. And truly, it doesn’t take much to turn it all around and I can absolutely …Read more →

10 Tips To End Your Bedtime Struggles (Part 2)

Getting kids to bed on time and to sleep is a huge source of stress for many parents. They struggle with getting their kids to bed on time. They struggle with kids that once they’re in bed, continually get out of bed. They struggle with having kids who won’t fall asleep unless they are lying with their child. They just struggle with the entire thing. In Part 1 of this blog post, I shared with you Tips 1 – 4. If you didn’t get a chance to see them, here is a quick summary of Tips 1 – 4: TIP #1: Bedtime Starts At Wake-up Time Bedtime is not just a nice little ring fenced thing that coincidently happens at a certain time in the evening. It is a cleverly orchestrated affair! To create patterns that work, you need to decide on the parameters of the patterns you want and stick to them until they become the habit. It always needs to start earlier than you think it does. Tip #2: Give Yourself Enough Time & Be Organized In order to get the bedtime routine on track and your kids to sleep at a certain time, you have to give …Read more →

10 Tips To End Bedtime Struggles (Part 1)

  Bedtime struggles in the form of getting kids to bed on time and to sleep is a huge source of stress for many parents. They struggle with getting their kids to bed on time. They struggle with kids that once they’re in bed, continually get out of bed. They struggle with having kids who won’t fall asleep unless they are lying with their child. They just struggle with the entire thing. As I was putting this blog post together, I came upon a fantastic and informative video on my Facebook feed. Surprise surprise, it was by a sleep expert, who despite not mentioning her name, was talking about the subject of kids and sleep. The information was great but given I was writing a blog on bedtime struggles, I was more intrigued by the comments in the comment boxes… all 139 of them! This video certainly stirred up a great conversation and made it abundantly clear that there are way too many parents out there struggling with bedtime. The interesting thing was that the parents who did not struggle with bedtime, and who were offering kind tips to those who did, got a hard time for seeming to have …Read more →

Why Meditation Is My Most Powerful Parenting Tool

I vividly remember my first yoga class. It was 10 years ago and I was slightly apprehensive. I was stepping into unknown territory. Despite my mind being open and flexible to something new, I knew my body to be less than flexible. Little did I realize then, that meditation was going to become my most powerful parenting tool. Suffice to say I got through the class and enjoyed it. I actually really enjoyed it. However, when it came to the Shavasana / Savasana part, I have to admit to being totally lost! Lost but hooked! I’d heard of meditation but I had no clue as to what it was or how you were supposed to do it! Didn’t you just shut your eyes and try to relax? I didn’t know that you ended a yoga practice with a meditation! After the class finished a friend who was laying on the mat beside me said: “Oh I just love Shavasana. I am either out for the count or I get all my lists done for the day. It’s awesome!”. “Is this it?” I thought. “Is this what meditation is?” Something told me not… 10 years later, 100’s of yoga classes later, Mindfulness …Read more →

The Most Successful Families Do This – Do You?

It used to be that the start of the school year was always busier than other times but nowadays it seems like every month is as busy as the last. When I suggest that you try and make time for adding something else into your already crazy schedule, you might look at me and say, really? You are kidding me!! Stay with me here because doing this will might just help you ease the craziness! The most successful families do this and I’m talking about FAMILY MEETINGS. So why a family meeting I hear you say! Isn’t there already enough in our diaries without adding more? Yes but no. They are really important and here’s why: When done well, Family Meetings become the backbone and safe place for the family. Think about any successful business or team and you will know where I’m going here. Each player knows their role, knows their position, knows the score, knows what is expected of them, is respectful of their teammates, knows the plan and has a keen sense of direction and purpose. How? By regularly coming together to touch base and discuss things. This successful, smooth operational process and organizational harmony do not …Read more →

How To Feel LESS STRESSED During The Holidays!

Being able to manage your expectations, particularly during the summer months is vital to being able to minimize some of the typical challenges you face at this time and you feeling less stressed. What 3 things do you find most stressful during the holidays? On the days where I do not manage my expectations of myself and my kids well and fail to communicate my minimum expectations to them, my top 3 holiday stressors are: The kids lounging around doing NOTHING! The kids looking to their smartphones any time they have “nothing” to do! Not contributing to the running of the home I want to repeat what I said above because it is key: “On the days where I do not take charge of my expectations of my kids and communicate my minimum expectations of them”  I know exactly what it is I need to do to make life at home during the holidays much much better. And, am excited to share it with you here so that you can do the same. Doing so will make you feel way less stressed and much calmer. I believe that with a bit of planning and organization, learning to better manage our …Read more →

Do You Struggle With Feeling Disrespected?

  In a previous post, I discussed the relationship between boundaries and respect. The two are so closely related to each other that if you haven’t read it, I suggest you read it before going any further. You can find it HERE It’s called: One Of The Most Important Parenting Skills Required Today. Suffice to say that if you are feeling disrespected, you are not alone but you probably think that it is others in your life that are causing you the disrespect you feel? Yes? It might not be that simple! Stick with me here, it will soon become much clearer. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to get it right. You know you should be able to set effective boundaries and hold the limits around screen time AND other things too, but as hard as you try, more often than not, the boundary you set is ineffective. You say YES when you know you should say NO. You say NO and wonder why you did! The pushback you get from your child causes you to either cave or put your foot down too hard. You don’t listen to what it is you really need and don’t …Read more →

One Of The Most Important Parenting Skills Required Today

  One of the most important parenting skills required today is the ability to set boundaries and hold the limits. In order to do this well, it is vitally important that you understand the relationship between boundaries and respect. Stay with me here, all will become clear. Boundaries and respect. Respect and boundaries. Chicken or the egg? Why are we talking about respect, I want to create killer boundaries around screen time and other things! I bet you’ve never really thought about respect and boundaries in the same breath. Believe me, neither had I! However, it is only when you understand the close relationship between these two things, that you will be able to shift from being so-so at setting boundaries and crap at holding the limits to being good at setting boundaries and kickass good at holding the limits. Boundaries alone are not enough. I’m going to generalize here, but, most of us moms are not bad at setting “the boundary” ie. saying what needs to be done. But sadly that’s often where it ends! It’s the next piece that gets us: we are not so great at holding the limits. You know the story, as soon as you …Read more →